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The Hillsborough Tavern - Home of the 80's

Isaac Carter
Hillborough Tavern
  Credit: Flikr - Stephen Trinder

Christchurch had it’s own alternative 80’s home in The Hillsborough Tavern.

Originally opened in 1972, the popular watering hole peaked in popularity during the 80’s, where bands would flock from all around the country to perform in this iconic pub.

The tavern, located on Curries Road, near the intersection with Port Hills road, was famous for being Christchurch's loudest, wildest and most well known pub and music venue. 

Alternative Bands like Screaming Meemees, Coconut Rough, Legionnaires, and DD Smash all frequented the tavern. This made every weekend at ‘The Hillsborough’, as it was affectionately known as by it’s regular patrons, one that was worth attending.

The tavern was no stranger to controversy, which looking back, has only added to it’s legend.

One such incident occurred in 1983. Local women’s groups took issue with the tavern’s “wet T-shirt” contest held in the car park on Boxing Day ‘83, and neighbors of the tavern also took issue with DD Smash’s 1984 concert in the car park. They complained of the “pounding noise of more than twice the allowable decibel level”.

On 21 September 2009 firefighters attended a fire at the tavern at around 12:30 am. Nine crew took around four hours to put out the roaring, and suspicious fire.

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Credit: Stuff.co.nz

The devastating fire consumed the Hillsborough Tavern and brought both sadness and fond memories to many past patrons. A great venue was now unrecognizable. The last dance would be at the wrecker’s ball. 

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